Toni Kroos cancelled an agreement to sign for Manchester United after David Moyes was sacked and replaced by Louis van Gaal, it has been revealed.
The Germany World Cup winner was heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford during the summer but eventually swapped Bayern Munich for Real Madrid in a deal worth £20m.
Though Daley Blind has joined from Ajax, the dearth in quality in the United midfield has already been highlighted by a run of one win in their opening five Premier League games this season.
Moyes was sacked in April after failing to guide United into the Champions League however had reportedly played a major role in securing deals to sign both Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera.
And, according to former Premier League striker Jan Aage Fjortoft, Moyes had agreed a deal to sign Kroos in the summer before the 24-year-old changed his mind upon the appointment of Van Gaal and opted to sign for Real.
Fjortoft, who now works for German television following a 10-year spell as the manager of the Norway national team, wrote on Twitter: "Been told from very good sources that Toni Kroos agreed to join Man UTD. But after Moyes out - Van Gaal in: Kroos said no"
Kroos played a significant role in Germany winning a fourth World Cup in Brazil and is regarded as one of the best central midfielders in Europe, having also played a part in the treble winning Bayern Munich team in the 2012/13 season.
The news is likely to be met with a mixed reaction from United fans, given Moyes' haphazard reign in charge, though the club's lack of central midfield resources is a cause for alarm.
Van Gaal failed to attract big-name signings to United until the last fortnight of the transfer window, signing Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao to recover a summer that threatened to see the club lose further ground on their top four rivals.
Defeat to Leicester City once again exposed the deficiencies in Van Gaal's transfer policy, but this time in defence, as the Foxes attack of Leonardo Ulloa, David Nugent and Jamie Vardy all terrorised the 20-time champions of England.